Kyle Cooper, a man who was a huge influence on title sequences, said “My job is to make people in the theater feel like they don’t want to be anywhere else.” This is a perfect philosophy for title sequences. The three main objectives of title sequences is to get the viewer emotionally engaged, act as a palette cleanser, and set the tone for the story to come.
What we can learn from title sequences is to continue to explore the design-driven approach to storytelling from the lens of a Title Sequence Director. We will use this as a new standard for conceptual development, cinematic (art) composition, typographic precision and an increased creative integrity across all of Untold’s Work.
We took a close look at 2 title sequences and broke them down. The first of which was Game of Thrones. Based on the feedback from pre-screening the audiences they were confused about the locations they were at in the show. They intended to solve this with interstitials of a map – of which later evolved into the main titles. The creative challenge was that the concept for the titles needed to convey the landscape and the relationship of the 7 kingdoms and those across the Narrow Sea. They had to design fictional locations that had never been visualized beyond writing and rough sketches from George R.R. Martian, the author of the Game of Thrones books. They wanted to keep it accurate to the books but make it like something we’ve never seen before. The studio referenced Leonardo’s Machines for a look of a world that is unsophisticated yet still holds a sense of complexity that gives it life. The design they came up with required the ability to move the camera around without being concerned about the flatness of a map or an empty horizon. To solve this they decided to build it like a Dyson Sphere, which holds the sun in the middle and the rest of the map is wrapped around the inside of the sphere.
The second title sequence we looked at was The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo. David Fincher, the director of the movie, came to blur and asked them to create a sequence that looks and feels like a fever dream that Lisbeth Salander, the protagonist, would have. Fincher also stipulated it would need to all be done in CG for flexibility and that it would have to go with the track that Trent Reznor and Karen O had already recorded. The challenge was to find the right direction, They spent a lot of time trying to find just the right look to go with. They settled on black fluid so then the challenge was to incorporate that throughout the entire piece. After they got the look down they decided to tell the story around metaphors in the book. They did this through various vignettes of different scenes. Originally they did about 50 and narrowed it down to 25 scenes. Each scene was set up as “theater in the round.” This technique has the action of the scene happening in the middle and you move the camera around the scene to find which view provides the best composition.